Best of the Week

Spidey, Inhuman, and Starlight

This week's new comics include the much-anticipated launch of Marvel's Inhuman, written by Charles Soule with art by Joe Madureira. Marvel also released the 200th anniversary issue of Ultimate Spider-Man with a special issue focusing on remembering the original Spider-Man. Finally, we have the second issue of Mark Millar's and Goran Parlov's Starlight from Image Comics. It is another great week for new comics, so let's get straight to the reviews.

Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man Issue No. 200

Mourning Peter Parker

This special anniversary issue of Ultimate Spider-Man is a touching story about the friends and family of Peter Parker gathering to remember him on the second anniversary of the character's death. WHAT?! Peter Parker, Spider-Man, is dead, and has been for two years? Then how have they been making all these Spider-Man comics, and how did this title get to issue no. 200? Regular readers of the Ultimate line of comics already know that this title is not set in the regular Marvel Comics universe, but a different dimension where Peter Parker was eventually killed in action and replaced by the new Spider-Man, Miles Morales. But Parker left behind many friends, including the Human Torch, Firestar, Iceman, his beloved Aunt May, three gorgeous ex-girlfriends (blonde, brunette, and redhead), and even a female clone who still fights crime as Spider-Woman.

All of these characters spend this issue remembering the good things about Peter, and the story also uses some beautiful double-page spreads with art by David LaFuente, Sara Pichelli, and original series artist Mark Bagley to hypothesize exactly what Peter would be up to if he were still alive. These pages are the action highlights for an otherwise melancholy story, but writer Brian Michael Bendis does a great job in making the audience care for a character who, let's face it, is not really dead.

But if all the mourning is just too sad for you, there is another big Spider-Man that was released for the week, an original graphic novel called Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business, and that one features the regular Marvel Comics universe version of Peter Parker in full-on spider action. This book is by the writing team of Mark Waid and James Robinson, with fully painted art by Gabriele Dell'Otto over pencils by Werther Dell'Edera.

Starlight Issue No. 2

The story of Starlight and Captain McQueen continues, as a strange space ship lands on his front lawn, piloted by a young boy who says the planet of Tantalus needs McQueen's help! Apparently, the planet of Tantalus is now under the cruel tyranny of a race of alien beings called...the Brotean. Which is an absolutely winning name for a race of evil dudes. But can Captain McQueen muster the courage to come to the aid of the citizens of Tantalus? After all, it's been more than forty years since his last adventure off-planet, and he is now an old man (supplementing with fish oil, as he puts it). 

This latest issue of Starlight practically jumps right off the stands, thanks to a great cover by Bill Sienkiewicz. And the art inside is no slouch either, as Goran Parlov continues to create a Flash Gordon-inspired alien world, anchored by realistic depictions of our own world. 

Inhuman Cover
Credit: Joe Madureira and Marvel Comics

Inhuman Issue No. 1

What do you do if you're running a successful comic book company, such as let's say Marvel Comics, and you have an extremely successful franchise within that company, such as the X-Men, but whenever movies are made about those X-Men, another studio, let's say Fox, has control over that property? If you are anything like the creative directors at Marvel, you decide to begin a big marketing push for another franchise that is not quite the X-Men, but uses a lot of the same general ideas and themes so that when it comes time to adapt it into a feature-length motion picture, Marvel Studios remains in control of the property, and it can be used in films that also use Iron Man, the Avengers, and Thor.

That's basically what Marvel has done with developing this new Inhuman series, where normal people are not developing mutant powers, like the X-Men, but instead are developing inhuman powers and abilities as a result of exposure to the catalytic Terrigen Mists. This is an idea that still allows for the basic theme of a world that hates and fears the powers of a segment of the population it does not understand, but now Marvel Studios can make any resulting Inhuman movies instead of 20th Century Fox.

Sticking with just the comic for now, though, this issue is a solid launch from the team of writer Charles Soule and superstar artist Joe Madureira (who has most recently completed runs on Savage Wolverine and Avenging Spider-Man). The issue starts with a young man in Norway being exposed to the Terrigen Mists and undergoing Terrigenesis as a result. There are also a couple of pages dedicated to long-standing Inhuman characters like Black Bolt and Medusa. Madureira's interpretation of Medusa and her self-controlled attack hair (for lack of a better name) is particularly awesome. Unfortunately, Madureira is not known for long runs on a single title, so it remains to be seen how many issues of Inhuman he ends up drawing, but while he is on the the title, this book will remain highly recommended.

Other New Comics This Week

She-Hulk, Superman, Moon Knight, Etc.

If you enjoyed the writing in the new Inhuman series, it is also worth checking out Soule's other book from Marvel, She-Hulk, which sees its third issue released this week as well. Also, Warren Ellis' run on Moon Knight continues with issue no. 2, and both Batman and Superman have new books out with the latest issues of Detective Comics and Action Comics. Overall, it is another great week of comics, but if only one book can stand as the greatest of the week, it has to be the launch of the Inhuman series.